Stories With A Golden Thread

I spent five days based at St. Matthew's House. Westminster, visiting our community members, seeing Billy Elliott (the show) James Bond (the film), the World Rugby Final at the Trafalgar Square Fanzone, and the brilliant Celtic History and Art exhibition at The British Museum. Oh - and the main point of the visit - a meeting of 'National Narrative', to which Roy Searle of Northumbria Community contributed by Skype. This network believes that Christians have too long been on the defensive. Secular and ISIS- type stories are now mainstream. Story, more than preachy statements, is the way to capture the people's imagination. The story of God's hand in the British and Irish Isles is unknown and now needs to be told in a hundred ways.

The story must not be triumphalistic. As the Old Testament story records both bad and good actions plus a golden thread of God restoring people to ways of justice and mercy, so must the story of our lands. We in UK must confess to the evils of empire but also to the work of Christians in founding schools, hospitals, banks, freedoms from slavery and child labour - starting with the amazing stories from the age of Celtic evangelisation and communities of hospitality. We were stimulated to each use our contacts and talents to take this forward

The story of the Methodist Prayer on the Street needs to be told. Maureen emailed that lives were turned round. They collected over two hundred prayers written on the streets. She folded them into the shape of flowers and placed them on the church Communion table.

The story of the on-line social psychology course whose final challenge is 'to spend 24 hours in the most compassionate way possible' needs to be told. Deborah Orr wrote in 'The Guardian' that this was reported as the most popular course in the world. I thought 24 hours was too much - I would try it for the next ten minutes and go from there!.

Rod and Judy sent a story from the Torres Straits, where they have spent a month working among the islanders. Their life is dictated by the four winds. Each family has one of the winds as a totem. Each wind has a strength and an opposite weakness. So they created prayers that embraced the strengths and invited the Holy Spirit to overcome the weaknesses. They believe the Body of Christ is made up of the four winds. Bishop Mabo, who was with them, worked through Judy's prayers which she hopes could be used in church services and also as a form of blessing at cultural events.

Now I must write story. It must be honest about strengths and weakness. And it must reveal the golden thread - the kindness that God delights to re-activate among us.

Posted at 09:41am on 5th November 2015
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